Theology Task Force Guidance on Ordination Standards - July 2015
The Essential Tenets and the Book of Confessions' Function in Ordination and Church Leadership
In our denomination each ordained officer vows to "receive, adopt, and be bound by the Essential Tenets of the ECO (polity 2.0103c)," and to be "under the authority of Scripture and guided by our Confessions (polity 2.0103d)." All officers are required to "adhere to the Essential Tenets (polity 2.0101)" and ordaining bodies are responsible to ensure the faithfulness of that adherence. Covenant Partners who are invited into "significant leadership roles in the congregation shall...agree with the Essential Tenets (polity 1.0305)" even if they are not in ordained leadership.
In no part of ECO polity is there a sense that some sections of the Essential Tenets are more important than others. Our call is to be in agreement with the whole document as a faithful expression of our reformed faith, the Book of Confessions, and the Word of God. The use of bold type in the Essential Tenets is intended to highlight central themes and in no way indicates that our agreement and adherence is limited to these highlighted statements.
Agreement with and adherence to the Essential Tenets is a direct affirmation of "the secondary authority of the Book of Confessions (Essential Tenets Section I, paragraph II) " which is declared to be a "faithful exposition of the Word of God." Therefore, (1) Ordained officers in ECO are required to affirm and be guided by the Book of Confessions. (2) Ordained officers and Covenant Partners in significant leadership positions should understand our confessions to be a trustworthy system of doctrine, subordinate to Scripture, which is the foundation of the Essential Tenets. The ECO Book of Confessions is the collection of documents listed in the first paragraph of the Confessional Standards.